So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Wetumpka AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Wetumpka AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Wetumpka AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Wetumpka AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Wetumpka AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Wetumpka AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Wetumpka AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Wetumpka AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Wetumpka AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Wetumpka AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Wetumpka AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wetumpka AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Wetumpka X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Wetumpka Alabama.